There are times in sports when a tie feels like a win.
Members of the Plymouth Extreme Under-16 boys soccer team felt that way when they tied Queensbury School of London, England in Schwan’s USA Cup July 19 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
Queensbury walked onto the field with the swagger of a championship team. They certainly looked the part with a 6-foot-7 striker and a 6-foot-6 midfielder.
Plymouth Extreme had lost its first two games in pool play, but the excitement of playing a foreign team brought about the best in the Extreme.
They trailed 1-0 early in the first half and trailed later on 2-1, but there was no quit in the Extreme.
“My feeling is that a tie’s a win in a game like this,” said Miguel Holguin, the Extreme’s center defender, who plays high school soccer at Heritage Christian Academy. “The level of physical play made it an interesting game. Queensbury’s players put their hearts, souls and bodies into it. They pressured us the whole game.”
While Holguin anchored the defense, Plymouth Extreme goalkeeper Jannik Frederiksen was brilliant. He came 35 meters out of the goal to challenge one rush.
“Jannik was really on his game,” said Holguin.
“We tied a really good team,” said Frederiksen, a Wayzata High player. “It was one of my better performances. I was pumped up, and I feel like I stepped up my game. When you play an international team, you have to step up.”
Offensively, Extreme’s leaders were Alec Overland and Ryan Lo, who will be juniors at Wayzata High this fall.
Overland scored in the first half and Lo netted the tying goal midway through the second half.
“There was a cross to the far post,” said Overland. “Ted Janka and I were there. I told Ted, ‘I’ve got it,’ and put it in the net. It was invigorating because I don’t score too often. It was only my second goal of the season. It was also a nice reminder that I can score.”
Lo, who put pressure on Queensbury’s defense most of the afternoon, said, “I was just trying to win balls everywhere I could. Scoring that goal was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had because it was against an international team.”
Before the game, Lo took to heart some advice from him mom.
“She told me, ‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,’” said Lo. She meant Lo should shoot more when he has the chance.
Lo was impressed by Queensbury’s talent and sportsmanship, even though it was a rough-and-tumble type of game.
“They’re a great team,” he said. “They’re technically sound and very physical, and they were nice guys after the game.”
Extreme coach Dan Galbraith was proud of his boys.
“We have had our ups and downs this year,” he said. “One thing about our guys, they always put out 100 percent effort.”
Galbraith said he has coached some of his players for nine years.
“I have probably coached them an average of four years each,” he said. “We have the same group year after year with a couple of additions.”
Galbraith said playing in the USA Cup never grows old.
“We’ve been coming here for years,” he said. “And the international spirit is what this tournament is all about.”
Prior to playing the boys from England this year, the Extreme had played teams from Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany and Mexico in previous trips to the USA Cup.
This year’s USA Cup has 958 teams, representing 22 states and 16 countries. The Wayzata Extreme is proud to be one of those 958 teams.
In addition to Frederiksen, Holguin, Janka, Lo and Overland, members of the Extreme are Teddy Ankeny, Andrew Cameron, Callaghan Commers, Cole Galbraith, Nick Henderson, Sam Kautzky, Jake Klucas, John Ogren, Noah Sternberg, Miles Tracey and Scott Wheatley.
Steve Klukas coaches with Dan Galbraith. The Plymouth Soccer Association sponsors the Extreme.
“All year, we have dedicated ourselves to the Schwan’s Cup,” said Overland. “Playing here this week is the highlight of our season.”
After going 0-2-1 in pool play, the Extreme was defeated by St. Croix, a team from the Stillwater area, in the first round of bracket play July 20.